Australia releases Iranian student Reza Dehbashi

October 5, 2019

TEHRAN – Australia has released an Iranian research student detained on alleged charges of exporting American equipment with military application to Iran.

The 39-year-old Reza Dehbashi, a student of the University of Queensland (UQ), had long been fighting to avoid extradition to the U.S., which accused him of exporting military equipment for detecting stealth planes or missiles to Iran, Tasnim reported on Saturday, citing Fars news agency.

Dehbashi was held in Australia for 13 months.

According to ABC News, lawyers for the U.S. government had applied for the Iranian Ph.D. student’s extradition for allegedly conspiring to export “defense articles designated under the U.S. munitions list” for the Islamic Republic.

The Iranian student has never set foot in the United States, but had been accused of exporting American equipment for detecting stealth planes or missiles to Iran, Press TV reported.

Dehbashi had been working on a “skin cancer detection device” at the time of his arrest. He had dismissed the charges as “a misunderstanding” and “unfair”.

The IRIB news showed footage of what it said was Dehbashi arriving at Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport.  

This is not the first time that Iranian university students and professors have been detained abroad.

Massoud Soleimani, a 49-year-old Iranian scientist left Iran on sabbatical last year, but was arrested upon arrival in Chicago and transferred to prison in Atlanta, Georgia for unspecified reasons.

On May 22, Iran’s science minister said the United States has set a trap for Iranian scientists, enabling their entry into the country before arresting them.

Mansour Gholami said the U.S. has identified a number of Iranian professors, who have conducted research in certain areas, published relevant scientific articles, and ordered and bought laboratory equipment.

“They issue visas for Iranian professors and arrest them upon their arrival in the U.S.,” he said. “This is a type of game they play to lure Iranian professors there.”

He also ruled out the possibility that those targeted in the scheme might have been in violation of Washington’s sanctions.

The news of Dehbashi’s release came shortly after Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne said on Saturday that an Australian couple who had been detained in Iran on spying charges were freed.  

Payne said all charges against them had been dropped and that the couple were on their way home and in “good health and in good spirits.”

MH/PA

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